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Preview: Theatrhythm Final Bar Line Has Something for Everyone

Theatrhythm Final Bar Line

Theatrhythm Final Bar Line is the next entry in the series of Square Enix’s themed rhythm game. Featuring songs from mainline entries and spin-offs, Final Bar Line will potentially have a lot of meat to offer players. Especially with a total of three game modes. Having the opportunity to jump into the demo, I was excited to see what new additions were made to the Theatrhythm series through this entry, and even with my short time spent with it, I’m extremely eager for the full release.

Theatrhythm Final Bar Line allows you to create a party of characters from various Final Fantasy games. The demo allowed for me to pick from titles like Final Fantasy XIV, Final Fantasy VII, and Final Fantasy XIII. You can mix and match these characters, as they each have their own unique abilities and skills that are unlocked as you level them up. For example, Alphinaud from Final Fantasy XIV is a utility mage, with the ability to deal wind spells and heal. Aerith from Final Fantasy VII is more support-focused, as her skills are focused on healing and buffing party members.

Alongside the basic types of characters, like physical, magic, healing, and defense, there is also the hunter type. But instead of being defined by these roles, it’s important to read what each character does. While Prompto and Yuffie are both hunter-type characters, Yuffie is capable of finding summonstones and Prompto more or less debuffs enemies and provides buffs for your party.

Theatrhythm Final Bar Line

Thankfully, party composition isn’t important for the basic difficulty, since your summons can more than compensate for whatever damage or support abilities you may be missing. But adding a healer to your group will definitely make stages you’re having difficulties with a lot easier. Additionally, stages do show you what enemies are weak to, and what bonuses are available. Certain stages will double physical damage, which means that it’s largely a good idea to throw in characters like Tifa into your party alongside Red XIII. This, of course, isn’t necessary which is great for those looking to just clear stages with their favorite characters.

Experience is also easily gained, and I very quickly leveled up my initial party of Lightning, Snow, Vanille, and Hope to level 30 after a couple of stages. From there I swapped out certain characters, mixing and matching, until I found a composition I eventually settled on.

The demo had two types of stages, exploration and battle stages. Battle stages are fairly straightforward, with some of their objectives focused on defeating a boss or specific named enemy. You don’t need to do this to progress, completion is enough, but this is largely what you’re aiming to accomplish. Whereas exploration stages have your characters walking through various 2D environments, with some button presses focused on holding and moving your cursor up and down to follow the trail in order to keep your combo up. It might sound confusing, but it is fairly straightforward.

Theatrhythm Final Bar Line

Concerning difficulty, it can ramp up pretty quickly. This, of course, includes more button presses which will appear at a more accurate, but faster tempo. Leveling up characters and taking the right types into certain stages will make them easier to beat, however. This includes the use of summons, with some appearing during stages based on the percent you’re at. Some skills also work this way, so if you’re struggling, slap a few healers into your group with different healing skills that activate at different percentages to keep your HP up.

The Theatrhythm Final Bar Line demo gave me a glimpse into the full release. But more than anything, it left me wanting more. It feels like it’s a great pick and put down kind of game, something to play before bed or during travel. I honestly spent a lot of time playing the game in bed before settling down for the night. Ultimately, the incorporation of songs from other Square Enix properties will only make Final Bar Line stronger. So I’m interested to see what those songs will play like further down the line.

Theatrhythm Final Bar Line releases on February 16, 2023 on the PS4 and Nintendo Switch, and DLC will appear in multiple season passes.

Kazuma Hashimoto
Translator and streamer, Kazuma spends his time playing a variety of games ranging from farming simulators to classic CRPGs. In his spare time he speedruns games from the Resident Evil series, and raids in Final Fantasy XIV.